Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 16, 2012 – The Ombudsman’s Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released its 2011 Annual Report.
The independent Ombudsman’s Office assists employers and individuals with difficulties such persons encounter in processing cases with USCIS. The Annual Report recommends ways of resolving problems that the agency faces in serving the public.
“The concept of an in-house public assistant to help resolve issues that applicants and petitioners – users of the agency’s services – encounter, is a good one,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas immigration lawyer. “Like the agency it is a part of, movement in meaningfully addressing issues raised is slow,” Rabinowitz added. “Still, I can report positive outcomes from Ombudsman office intervention. More done quicker, though, is the goal.”
The 2011 Annual Report, which covers the reporting period between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012, identified several areas of concern and provided recommendations for improvement. The report is mandated by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and the areas of concern are based on case inquiries handled by the Ombudsman’s Office, of which there were more than 4,500 during this reporting period.
The recommendations fell into four major categories: Employment; Family and Children; Humanitarian; and Customer Service.
In the Employment category, the Ombudsman’s Office recommended reducing delays for individuals and employers seeking employment authorization. The Office acts as liaison to address issues with the VIBE program, EB-5 immigrant investor issues and the EB-1 program.
In the Family and Children category, the report made recommendations to improve adjudication of petitions through the Special Immigrant Juvenile program and address concerns raised by conditional residents, petition survivor benefits and U.S. Military service members’ needs.
Regarding Humanitarian concerns, the report called for more transparency and consistency in the USCIS deferred action program and recommended better coordination of the employment authorization process for asylum seekers.
Finally, the Ombudsman’s Office recommended that Customer Service be improved by making changes in the agency’s Service Request Management Tool and its Petition Information Management Service.
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